Scott Mansfield: I'm Color Blind
Scott Mansfield, assistant St. Clair County state's attorney, says that he is color blind when he prosecutes cases: blind to the color of the defendant, blind to the color of the victim. It's untrue that he says "who cares" about black on black crime.
"A lot of the cases we've gotten, especially in the last six months, are dope dealers killing dope dealers," Mansfield said. "I don't care if they are black or they are white, we don't have innocent victims here. And I can tell you the juries are not going to have much sympathy or much proclivity to convict when someone kills a dope dealer. If there's a 'So what?' attitude, a 'Who cares?' attitude, it is an attitude that dope dealers may be killing dope dealers and this is no great loss. It's not because they are black dope dealers. If a dope dealer kills a dope dealer, I'm not as concerned as when a dope dealer kills an innocent person in a robbery or as a bystander to a shooting. I'll prosecute it nonetheless, but there are degrees of concern when you get to these kind of things. We're getting a lot of bad people killing bad people."
Mansfield recalled the case of the man allegedly beaten and cut by a homosexual. Mansfield said in contradiction to Anderson's statement, he reads every report sent to him. Actually, Mansfield said, the accused was a transvestite. The victim said he was an ironworker from Granite City driving home to St. Louis and on Route 3 in National City (at the First and Last Tavern, First and St. Clair, frequented by gay men prostitutes and women prostitutes) and picked up a hitchhiker, that there was no sex involved, and the man suddenly turned on him, beat him and cut him.
The transvestite said he was picked up at the tavern by the ironworker who asked him to perform a sex act and said he would give him $20. The transvestite performed the "head" but the ironworker refused to pay. The transvestite said they got in a violent argument and maybe be stuck the guy a little, "I don't know." Mansfield said the injuries were not serious.
"Maybe I made an error in judgment," Mansfield said, "but if I did, I can live with it." If the case had gone to trial and the ironworker had realized he would have been accused of having sex with a transvestite, he probably would have said "forget it" anyway, Mansfield said. In all sex cases, if a victim admits he was seeking a sexual liaison and says he was beaten and robbed, "I'm more likely to prosecute than the guy who says 'My car broke down and I'm an innocent fellow who's down here all by myself and these bad people are trying to take my money.' Well, he's lying already. In this case, I felt the victim was lying," Mansfield said.
"Any time I decline a case, every department, not just East St. Louis, or any other assistant state's attorney declines a case, any police department is free, and it doesn't hurt anybody's feelings, to take the case to John (State's Atty. John Baricevic). Most of the time John upholds our decisions, but the are times when John says 'no, go ahead and charge it.' He doesn't say we're wrong, he says 'Well, it's a matter of opinion.' So apparently they weren't that concerned about the case either," since they did not appeal to John.
The following was taken from the Belleville News-Democrat of Tuesday, Oct. 2,1990.
And in the same issue:
Mansfield said he was disappointed that Chief of Detectives Anderson felt as he said about Mansfield. "I thought we had a working relationship," Mansfield said. "The office and Lester Anderson have had our differences, I never thought we had made up and everybody loves each other, but I thought we'd gotten to the point recently where we had a working relationship that lets us all get the job done ... where we were getting on with the business of police work and the prosecution was getting done."
Mansfield said that he often finds when he rejects a case because of lack of evidence or shoddy police work the black policemen want to blame it on race. He said he marvels at the belief by some blacks that there is a great conspiracy against East St. Louis by the whites in the county. "I marvel at it, but then when I think about it realistically, I can see where a persuasive black leader could convince a lot of people that it is a fact."